I have been enjoying Insanity, passion, and addiction: a year inside the chess world by GM Gormally and would like to share some thoughts with you. From the book:


“I’ve done pretty well so far – I’ve yet to mention our esteemed world champion, Mr Magnus Oen Carlsen. He has such an all-pervading influence on the chess scene now, that it’s extremely difficult to get through an entire chess book without mentioning him at least once.
As much as I admire the young Norwegian, one particular habit he has seems to have been picked up by others. That is, to hover over the board when it’s your opponents turn to move. Now I know it’s not against FIDE rules to do this. At least I don’t think it is. But I do think it’s rather annoying, when you are trying to concentrate, to have your opponent standing in your immediate vision, like he’s giving a simul. I’m told that all the young Norwegian players now do this, in honour of their hero. And not just Norwegians. I let t get to me in round three in Plancoet. Early on in the game, it wasn’t really a problem. But towards the end of the game my opponent kept standing up at the board, which as my position was beginning to deteriorate, started to annoy me. I started to wave my hands in his general direction, in obvious annoyance. “What is your problem?” came the aggressive retort. After that he seemed to sit down a bit more, but perhaps it was too late as my will had been broken. The standing up pose had claimed yet another victim.”

Before writing the above GM Gormally had informed us that he had informed the TD he was withdrawing from the tournament, but then “…decided to play the round three game where I was paired with a 1940 player.” Gormally lost the game without even mentioning the 1940 players name! At the very least this is an egregious slight of his opponent. He lost because he neglected to show his lower rated opponent R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Gormally lost because he stop thinking and made several BAD MOVES. He writes, “It’s very difficult to play a chess game when you’re affected by anger. It completely breaks up your concentration.” Gormally was “…affected by anger” because he could not control his emotions. The best Chess players are the ones who can best control their emotions, and Magnus Oen Carlsen is the World Champion because he controls his emotions better than his contemporaries.

The above brought two things to mind. During a tournament I got up to stretch my legs. While wandering around looking at some of the other games I stopped at the board of one legendary Georgia player. I had only been standing at his board a few moments while surveying his irretrievably damaged position when suddenly the legendary one erupted from his chair, gesticulating wildly, while snorting and stamping like a bull before charging a red flag. I moved on as quickly as humanly possible…

It also brought to mind an incident at the 2002 US Open. I was playing an Expert, Herman Chiu, a rather small, scrawny, pipsqueak in the third round. I was “on par” after losing to a NM in the first round and winning against a ‘C’ player in the second round. I recall it being my move while having a decent position when I was kicked under the table. I looked up at my opponent, who grinned. My concentration had been broken, but I tried to put it out of my mind and refocus on the game, thinking the kick inadvertent and the grin demented, when I was again kicked. Once again Herman had a shit-eatin’ grin on his face. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that this weasel had kicked me intentionally, so I left the board to find a TD. I cannot recall the name of the gentleman with whom I discussed the situation, but he did not want to be bothered, so I went back to the board. I made a move without again being kicked, but when next on move I was once again kicked. This time I found Carol Jarecki, who came to the board with me, and stayed there until I had made my move without being kicked. She left, he moved, and when next my turn, I was again kicked! I went to Carol again and told her in no uncertain terms that if the asshole kicked me again I may lose control with one of us dead and the other in prison! Hearing this Carol returned to the table and talked with Herman. By now I was LIVID! After a couple of weak moves my position degenerated to the level of my opponents behavior and I went down in flames. At least I was not kicked again…

Word got around the tournament and several players whom I had never met came to me to commiserate, informing me that the “little creep” had previously kicked them underneath the table. I lost my cool, letting my temper flare, when what I should have done was to have walked over to his side of the board and slammed his head into the board several times, letting out my rage, before continuing the game. Just kidding, I think… I will admit that when informed Herman had died I grinned, while thinking, “I out lived the cretin.”

I followed GM Gormally’s progress in the London Classic Open. He began the tournament as the 29th ranking player and finished tied for 10th place with a score of 6 1/2 – 2 1/2. His PR of 2460 was just below his official FIDE rating of 2477.

Gormally was on the wrong side of the Najdorf in the final round but won. When the move 6 Qe2 appeared on the board

at TWIC I thought it must be a mistake. Maybe I’ve been away from Chess too long, or at least away from the Najdorf, my first real Chess love, too long, I thought. The CBDB shows 19 different moves for White against the Najdorf, but if we throw out 5 rarely played moves, there are 14 plausible moves for the wrong side to fire at a Najdorf player. Qe2 is a little below Qd3, but slightly above a3 & h4, if that tells you anything. If you’ve read the AW you know how much I like the Qe2 move…but against the Najdorf? I was frightened by the idea of sitting down at the board and having some whipper snapper fire the Qe2 salvo at my Najdorf as I sat there pondering about whether it was the latest attempt with reams of analysis I did not know, or simply an over the board inspiration conjured up by the fertile your mind sitting across from the AW…

Gormally, Daniel W (ENG) – Van Delft, Merijn (NED)

London Chess Classic Open 2017 round 09

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Bd2 Nbd7 9. O-O-O Be7 10. Rg1 b5 11. g4 Nb6 12. f4 exf4 13. g5 Nfd7 14. Bxf4 Nc4 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 O-O 17. Nd4 Nde5 18. Kb1 Re8 19. Bc1 Bf8 20. h4 g6 21. h5 Bg7 22. hxg6 hxg6 23. Rh1 Nxb2 24. Bxb2 Nc4 25. Qf3 Nxb2 26. Kxb2 Qxg5 27. Rh3 Rac8 28. c3 Rc5 29. Rg3 Qxd5 30. Qxd5 Rxd5 31. Kb3 Rc5 32. Bh3 Ree5 33. Rgd3 a5 34. a3 Bf8 35. Bd7 Kg7 36. Rf3 a4+ 37. Kc2 Kg8 38. Rdf1 Bg7 39. Rxf7 Re3 40. Rxg7+ Kxg7 41. Ne6+ Rxe6 42. Bxe6 1-0

Checking with the usual places, the CBDB and 365Chess I learned that players in the BC age played 7 Nf5 after 6…e5, but that the “engines” prefer 7 Nb3. Seems our man Gormally has been hitting the “engines.” I could fond only one other game with & Nbe:

Watson, PR. vs Aslett, Alec
Event: Combined Services-ch
Site: England Date: 2002
Round: 7
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Qe2 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Bg5 Nbd7 9. g3 Qc7 10. Bg2 Rc8 11. O-O-O Bc4 12. Qd2 b5 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Bxb3 15. axb3 h6 16. Be3 f5 17. h4 Be7 18. Kb1 Nf6 19. Bh3 g6 20. h5 O-O 21. hxg6 Ne4 22. Qd3 Nc5 23. Bxc5 e4 24. Qd2 dxc5 25. d6 Bxd6 26. Qxd6 Qg7 27. Bxf5 c4 28. Bxc8 1-0

Breaking The Rules of the Leningrad Dutch

Neil McDonald

is a English Chess Grandmaster born in 1967, and a prolific author. His Wikipedia page ( shows thirty five Chess titles he has authored, including three on the Dutch.

Opening Guides: Dutch Leningrad, (1997);

Starting Out: The Dutch Defence, published in 2005;

Play the Dutch: An Opening Repertoire for Black based on the Leningrad Variation (2010).

Then there is this one:

Heading into the last round of the recently completed London Classic Open GM McDonald was in the fourth score group, along with a host of other players with 5 1/2 points out of a possible 8. He had black versus fellow GM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan,

who was rated 2500, about one hundred points higher than McDonald.

Vakhidov opened with 1 c4, to which his opponent replied f5! The Dutch, a fighting opening for the last round game! There followed 2 Nc3 Nf6 and 3 d4 g6.

When attempting to play the Dutch four decades ago I was attracted to the Leningrad because of a game between Karpov vs Jacobsen, USSR vs Scandinavia junior match 1968, ( found in a book by Tim Harding, published in 1976, appropriately titled, The Leningrad Dutch.

As I recall one of the first chapters is titled, “Berzerk attacks.” This occurs when the Leningrad player allows white to fire the h4 salvo in the early opening phase of the game. Many failed experiments taught me to avoid h4 if at all possible. One of the ways to do this would be to delay playing g6 until after first playing d6, and then Nf6. White can still fire the h4 salvo, but it turns into a premature ejaculation. As a general rule I usually play d6 after the white pawns come to d4 and c4.

Vakhidov fired the h4 salvo on his fourth move, to which McDonald replied Bg7. Vak, in for a penny, in for a pound, continued pushing it in with 5 h5. Neil takes the sucker offa the board with Nxh5. When Vak fires his King pawn to e4

I am willing to wager Neil was wishing he had already played d6…At this point Stockfish, according to the CBDB would play fxe4. McDonald plays 6…e6. There follows, 7 exf5 exf5 8 Rxh5 gxh5 9 Qxh5+.

How would you like to be sitting behind the black pieces in this position? Me neither…McDonald moved his King to f8 and Vak played 10 Nd5. Neil tried a new move, 10…h6 (10…d6 11. Bg5 Qd7 12. O-O-O Nc6 13. Re1 Qf7 14. Qxf7+ Kxf7 15. Nxc7 Rb8 16. Nb5 Bxd4 17. Nxd6+ Kg6 18. Bh4 Bf6 19. Nf3 Bxh4 20. Nxh4+ Kf6 21. Ne8+ Kf7 22. Nd6+ Kf6 23. Ne8+ Kg5 24. g3 Rf8 25. f4+ Kh6 26. Bd3 Bd7 27. Nd6 Kg7 28. Nhxf5+ Bxf5 29. Nxf5+ Kh8 30. a3 Rbd8 31. Bc2 Na5 32. Re2 Rf6 33. b3 Rdf8 34. Nd4 R6f7 35. Re3 Rf6 36. Nf3 Nc6 37. Ng5 Rh6 38. Rd3 Rh1+ 39. Kb2 h6 40. Ne6 Rf6 41. Nc5 b6 42. Nd7 Re6 43. Rd2 Rhe1 44. Bd1 R6e3 45. g4 Re4 46. f5 Rd4 47. Kc2 Ree4 48. Bf3 Rxd2+ 49. Kxd2 Rd4+ 50. Ke3 Rxd7 51. Bxc6 Re7+ 52. Kd4 Kg7 53. b4 Kf6 54. c5 bxc5+ 55. Kxc5 Ke5 56. b5 Kf4 57. Kd6 Rh7 58. f6 Kxg4 59. Ke6 Kf4 60. f7 Rh8 61. Ke7 Ke5 62. f8=Q Rxf8 63. Kxf8 Kd4 64. Kg7 h5 65. Kg6 h4 66. Kg5 h3 67. Kg4 h2 68. Kg3 Kc4 69. Kxh2 Kb3 70. a4 Kb4 71. Kg3 Kc5 72. Kf4 1-0; Jimenez Martinez,J (2002) vs Encinas Encinas, (2174) Albacete 2004) There followed: 11 Qxf5+ Kg8 12 c5 d6 13 Qe4 Nc6 14 Bc4 Kf8 15 Ne2 Na5 16 Qf4+ Ke8 17 Bb5+

You know you have stepped into some really deep poo when your opponent ALLOWS you to fork two minor pieces with a lowly pawn…

c6 18 Bd3 cxd5 19 Bg6+ Kd7 20 Qxd6# 1-0

Gruesome. When is the last time you saw a GM mated in the middle of the board? The McDonald version of the Leningrad Dutch was obliterated.

Old McDonald turns fifty next month, becoming eligible for the World Senior. Maybe he should consider retiring to the farm…

I do not have either of the Leningrad books authored by GM McDonald. If you do and would like to leave a comment, or send an email ( with what he has to say about handling berzerk attacks with an early h4, inquiring minds would like to know…